The hours spent reading aloud to my children are hard to number. I started reading to my first daughter when she was new born. If someone asked why, my answer would have been a jumble of ideas: listening to someone read is a great way to learn words and ideas; I wanted her to be a reader when she grew older; the one-on-one time was precious. It wasn’t until my second child, a son, was born almost two years later that my intuitive idea about reading began to take more clear shape. By this time, my daughter had graduated to simple chapter books and stories, so baby brother spent many hours cuddled between us listening to the magical, musical words being read to his big sister. During my frequent trips to the library, I came to the unpleasant realization that not all cute children's books are created equal! Some of the books promote ideas and beliefs with which I don’t agree, but what I found even more disturbing was the number of books that exist which say nothing, mean nothing, teach nothing! What a wasted opportunity! This began my effort to be discerning when choosing what to read to my children.
There are so many good books; classics and those written by thoughtful, principled authors. As the number of children in our family grew to five and our reading continued, so did our list of favorite books. The criteria was simple; well written stories with admirable characters (along with interesting, well-penned villains) demonstrating noble qualities amidst the humorous, challenging, tragic and blessed situations that arise in life. The benefits of all this reading for my children range from the development of awesome vocabularies, to an understanding of right and wrong, a distinction that has become blurred for so many of our country’s youth today.
All of this to say that through this blog, I hope to share our reading adventures! I will include many of my family's favorite book suggestions as well as thoughts on other things related to kids and learning. Writing this entry has caused me to look back and remember the times I spent with the children lost in the pages of a great book. And if you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, you will appreciate knowing that many a day, as I finished up reading to my kids, they invariably begged “one more chapter, pleeeease!”. I would gaze around, noting the half-cleaned kitchen and stacks of laundry before settling back onto the couch, taking up the beloved book with the reply, “As you wish”.